I know one 65yr old woman who had lots of pain in her hips and legs but her muscles are so atrophied from a lifetime without exercise. What is causing her pain and what can i do for her? Another woman in her sixties is walking 45mins a day since her husband died of heart complications. She want to avoid the same fate but she gets so tired after her walks. What is going on? Shouldn’t walking make people feel invigorated and happy?
Everyone is different when it comes to pain in the body.
Have you had her talk to her medical professionals?
After that ask about her past experiences with fitness- if she played sports, has she had surgeries, what has she done to help the pain, etc.
Walking can be beneficial, but at some point many people have to move to recumbent bikes, elliptical, or aquatics because they are unable to work with low impact exercises.
The question about tiredness, and the question about pain can be looked at separately.
Any new activity, or increase in activity puts additional demands on the body. In time the body tends to adapt. With a body that has been sedentary for a long time, has chronic health conditions, or is older that adaptation can take longer, and may be more limited in some ways. This is why many trainers and exercise pros suggest starting a new program slowly and allowing the person (muscles, cardiovascular system, and so on) to work up to longer, harder workouts bit by bit…. especially if they are older. It is also helpful to remember that they probably need to take breaks when needed, hydrate regularly, stretch if the muscles get tired, and so on. And the most important thing I would say is for that person to talk to their health care provider, to make sure there is no underlaying health problem.
If there is pain that is absolutely the place to start. A fitness professional cannot diagnose a medical condition. Once a health professional can identify any underlying conditions and give the ok for a fitness program a fitness professional can help guide the person to a good program for their fitness and physical health.
On another note, a person who has suffered a great loss is to be commended for striving to put healthy positive activities in her life. I wonder if she is able to find walking partners, or a walking group. I have found with my older students that the community is as important as the activity. In any case I send my wishes that she treat herself with gentleness and kindness and hopes that she find the tiredness in time gives way to glow.
I agree with Bryant that checking with your clients’ physicians is an important first step. There are so many factors that can impact an elderly client’s ability to exercise–arthritis, cardiovascular/cardiorespiratory impairment, orthopedic history–that you consider not only medical history, but also exercise history, body weight, nutritional habits, post-exercise recovery and so forth.
The most important consideration, in my opinion, is that pain most often is not a good sign, especially if it’s joint pain.
Good luck, take care.
Florann, walking, like any other exercise, has different effects on different people. Some get invigorated, others may get tired. To rule out ‘other factors’ such as something medical going on, you should have your client visit her (their) physician so as to make sure that there isn’t a medical reason for what they are observing. Tiredness and fatigue could have many sources so it’s always best to rule out a medical issue.